Let's say you are a Fortune 2000 company. You make software, you sell consulting services, and you dabble in hardware. You're doing well. Here's a hypothetical question:
Communist China offers you $50 million to develop software that can be used to track comments on web forums and to track the sender and receiver of "spam" email. To them, "spam" means anti-government, anti-harmony, the sort of thing that the people should be protected from.If you're IBM, you sell them the software.
- Do you sell the government the software?
- Do you choose to not sell the software?
Tom Watson Would Be Proud
Grandpa would have been proud. This is the same company that sold the Nazi's the information system that automated the Holocaust. From Wikipedia:
IBM's subsidiary Dehomag sold the Third Reich unit record equipment and data processing technology and services. IBM played an integral administrative part in the systematic genocide of the European Jewish community from 1939 to 1944, by helping the Nazis organize and coordinate their efforts toward gathering and organizing all available information about their victims.
Specifically, IBM leased their unit record (punched card) equipment and support services to the Third Reich, providing a significant help in dealing with the massive administrative task that was the 'Final Solution', with sizable profits for IBM. IBM denies that it had control over its subsidiaries after the Nazis took control of them. Researchers such as Edwin Black found that in addition to the Dehomag connection, a large amount of the technology arrived via "a subsidiary in Poland, Watson Business Machines in Warsaw, which reported directly to the IBM New York headquarters."
The poster at the right refers to the "Hollerith" machines that IBM provided the Nazi's. Hollerith was the US census official who developed the punch card, and later founded the company that became IBM.
I really liked Google's decision to cease self-censoring Chinese search results, and I like it a lot more now that I've read about IBM's helping to control the masses (again).